The undefeated

New Paltz baseball at 4-0

by Rich O’Corozine
April 21, 2011 12:33 PM | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Austin Pikulski (now 2-0) on the mound.
Photo by Rich O’Corozine
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This is obviously a season of promise for the New Paltz baseball team. Loaded on the offensive and defensive end, the Huguenot’s only concern coming into this season was their pitching. Did they have enough? Or would they just have to outslug every team in order to keep that talent edge?

Well, all one could say is so-far-so-good, as Brian Krebs followed up Austin Pikulski’s complete game win over Rondout to open the season, with a 76-pitch two-hit three-strike out 3-0 win at FDR last week; the runs scoring on a Ricky Drosdowich RBI single in the second inning (scoring Ryan Lamark, who had walked, stolen second and moved to third on a JT Ferraro fielder’s choice ground out) and a Pikulski two-run triple (scoring Jon Diaz and Ferraro, who had singled) in the third.

On Monday the Huguenots blew out Wallkill 13-0, as Pikulski went the first 5 1/3 innings and gave up four hits, striking out three. Pikulski struggled in the top of the first as Chet Atkins and Ben Conover reached on singles to open the game, moved over on a sacrifice bunt by Ray Sanchez, but got Sam Connors on a grounder to Ferraro at short (holding the runners) and nailed Jim Brown on a line drive to Diaz in center. New Paltz went to work offensively in the bottom of the inning, as Ferraro lined a one-out single to center, stole second and moved to third on Eric Pesavento’s line single to leftfield. Pikuski’s grounder was booted by Jim McKeever at second, as Ferraro scored and Pesavento moved to third. Pete Ferrante doubled into right-centerfield gap scoring Pesavento, with Pikulski taking third. And after Lamark grounded out, Drosdowich’s infield single between third base and the mound scored Pikulski, and when Connors threw the ball away trying to get Drosdowich, Ferrante scored with the fourth New Paltz run.

And essentially that was the game, as Pikulski walked four and allowed another two hits over the next 4 1/3 innings, but the senior righthander squelched any potential Wallkill rallies: striking out two with a runner on second in the second inning; getting a fly-out to leftfield with two on in the third; getting a ground out to Pesavento with two on in the fourth; getting a pop out to third with a man on second base in the fifth.

Pikulski was also aided and abetted by his infield -- particularly on the left-side as Ferraro and Pesavento made two spectacular plays in the sixth. With McKeever on first with a walk, Tim Wellmon hit a slow grounder toward short that Ferraro bare-handed on the run and threw a tracer to first to nail the fleet Wellmon. It was a play that most high school ballplayers couldn’t make...but Ferraro can. And did. Opposing pitcher Mike Sarra was then hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. New Paltz coach Sam Phelps then called in last year’s closer -- “The Closer” -- Mike Beck, and Beck induced Shane Melfi to hit a hard grounder to Pesavento’s right, just inside the line, that Pesavento dove for, grabbed and stepped on third to complete the inning-ending double play. It was the brilliant New Paltz defense in microcosm.

New Paltz had added a single run in the third as Lamark and Drosdowich hit back-to-back doubles; and then iced the win with a huge eight run sixth inning, with Drosdowich driving in two more runs and Diaz, Ferraro, Pesavento (with two) adding RBI’s.

On Thursday, New Paltz rallied from a 5-2 deficit to Onteora with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and then won it 7-5 on a two-run home run by Diaz in the eighth. Kyle Hoffman got the win in relief of Brian Krebs. Ferraro led off the seventh with a walk and Pesavento followed with a two-run homer to make it 5-4. Lamark singled and moved around on a sacrifice and wild pitch and scored the tying run on a passed ball with two outs. In the eighth, Chad Wells battled his way to a leadoff walk and Diaz followed with his first home run of the season to win it.

New Paltz is 4-0 overall and in the MHAL (1-0 in Division 2).

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